President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan welcomed the suggestion Sunday that the Obama administration might be open to negotiations with Taliban moderates. It is "good news," Karzai said, "because this has been the stand of the Afghan government." Obama told The New York Times that such a strategy was successful in Iraq and "there may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and the Pakistani region" to promote reconciliation with Karzai's government.
At least 30 people were killed Sunday in Baghdad as a terrorist aboard a motorbike exploded a bomb among recruits outside the city's police academy. The frequency of such attacks has increased as foreign forces withdraw and Iraqis take over more responsibility for their own security. The incident was the second of its type in Iraq in three days and the second to inflict mass casualties at the academy since Dec. 1.
In some of his most defiant remarks since the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir Sunday poured scorn on it and Western nations. Waving a ceremonial sword on a visit to Darfur Sunday, he told a cheering crowd, "[the court] and everyone who works for it are under my feet" – a supreme insult among Arabs. Bashir, who already has ordered the closure of 13 aid agencies, also threatened to expel more missions as well as diplomats and foreign peacekeepers "if they go against Sudanese law."
Voters in North Korea streamed to the polls Sunday to choose a new rubber-stamp legislature in an election that was attracting more international attention than usual because one of leader Kim Jong Il's sons reportedly was on the ballot. The election of Kim Jong Un, who is still in his mid-20s, would be a strong sign that he's being groomed as the eventual successor to his father, analysts said.
Suspicion fell on Irish Republican Army dissidents for a bold attack Saturday night at a British Army base near Belfast, Northern Ireland, that killed two soldiers and wounded four civilians. Gunmen in a car followed a pizza delivery man to the main gate of the base, fired on everyone in sight, and then sped away. The worst act of violence there in more than a decade was condemned by the British and Irish Republic prime ministers as well as by Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, the political party allied with the IRA. Last month, IRA dissidents abandoned a car-bomb attempt near another British Army base.
Tamil rebels and Sri Lankan troops claimed to have inflicted heavy losses on each other over the weekend in fighting over the separatists' dwindling territory. The Army displayed photos of at least 50 dead rebels and said another 50 had been killed. Pro-rebel websites said an Army offensive had been thwarted, with more than 400 soldiers killed. The claims couldn't be verified. The Army admitted incurring losses but would not say how many.
Opposition leader Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar said he's in hiding "until the dust settles," amid reports that security police are seeking to arrest him. His TV station also was off the air. Rajoelina pulled out of talks last week with his bitter rival, President Marc Ravalomanana. On Saturday, police used tear gas to break up an antigovernment protest by some of his followers.
Pope Benedict XVI announced details of his long-expected trip to the Middle East Sunday, saying he'll use it to pray for "the precious gift of unity and peace." The May 8-15 visit is scheduled to include stops in Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Jordan, with two planned masses and a tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. The trip will be the first to the region by a pope since 2000.